We spent Columbus Day weekend in the mountains. Some friends of friends were generous enough to offer us their vacation house and we packed in 3 families (18 people total, 12 kids aged 13 months to 13).
On the trip down, our family stopped to climb the fire tower on Woodstock Mountain. You can hike up the mountain, or if you have a 3 yr old and a baby in a backpack you can drive to the top, hike the short easy trail to the tower and be rewarded with a great view. The drive up to the tower was an adventure in itself as it was a non-paved road with no guard rails and a lot of tight switchbacks. The boys loved it.
The walk down the tower was a little scary, in particular for David who is a bit scared of heights. Afterwards we had lunch in Woodstock at a pharmacy lunch counter. Simple food with prices that were hard to beat. We finished off the meal with 75 cent ice cream cones.
That night after a dinner of beef fajitas cooked by H. the kids watched a movie on the porch. The next night we had a church service on the same porch by candlelight. We sang hymns and one of the Dads gave a “homily” geared to the kids. It was especially meaningful to sing “My Father’s World” in this setting.
This is my Father’s world
and to my listening ears
all nature sings, and round me rings
the music of the spheres.
This is my Father’s world:
I rest me in the thought
of rocks and trees, of skies and seas;
his hand the wonders wrought.
The next day we went for a hike around a lake in the morning. The hike was fairly easy but at about the right speed for our group. It took us about 90 minutes and some of the younger set including David needed carrying for stretches and the promise of cookies waiting at the end to finish.
Ruth, however, wanted to walk on her own.
In the afternoon I went to a great book fair and got two bags full of books for me and books for school. I took the 13 yr old daughter of some friends and Ruth. It was a nice time to chat with her on the car ride there and back.
H. got to go golfing, a rare thing these days. Some of the kids did arts and crafts with one of the Moms. John and his best friend set traps in the woods with the help of the 11 yr old boy on the trip. What they were hoping or expecting to catch? Still not sure.
There was reading. There was pool playing on the mini pool table. There was a heated and exciting game of Uno. There was napping (by the adults).
On the drive home we stopped at Luray Caverns. This is Dream Lake, which is really quite amazing. The bottom “stalagmites” are really a reflection of the stalactites above in the very clear smooth surface of the pool. We’re doing Earth Science this year for John so we had read a little about caves and caverns before the trip. The admission price includes an audiotour which has an option for kids at each stop that was great for John.
We finished up with a drive home via Skyline Drive.
All in all, a good weekend and a good beginning to a week of vacation for us.